Pistorius indicted on murder charge; trial starts in March

South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius was indicted Monday on a murder charge and will stand trial, starting March 3, 2014.

Pistorius is free on bail after spending a week in custody following the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Feb. 14, 2013.

Steenkamp would have turned 30 years old on Monday. She was shot to death by Pistorius in the bathroom of the double-amputee runner's home.

Pistorius, who was in court Monday, has said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder and mistakenly killed her.

In an affidavit during his bail hearing, Pistorius said he heard a noise in the bathroom and, thinking it was an intruder, got his gun -- a 9-mm pistol he said he keeps under his bed for protection. He said he fired shots through the door and told Steenkamp to call the police.

When he realized Steenkamp was not in bed with him, Pistorius thought it may have been her in the bathroom. He said he called paramedics and security officers in his building complex, and tried to carry her down the stairs for help. He said she died in his arms.

Prosecutors have countered that Pistorius knew Steenkamp was in the bathroom when he shot and killed her.

In addition to the murder charge, Pistorius was charged with contravening South Africa's Firearms Control Act.

Prosecutors are expected to call more than 100 witnesses for the trial, which is scheduled to last about 2 1/2 weeks. A judge will decide guilt or innocence, as South Africa, does not have trial by jury.

Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner," made history at the London Olympics last year when he became the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Games.

The 26-year-old Pistorius had both legs amputated before he was a year old after being born without fibula bones and runs on prosthetic blades.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had initially said that his prosthetics were considered technical aids and in violation of an IAAF rule. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport later overturned that decision, making him eligible to compete against able-bodied runners.

Pistorius qualified for South Africa's Olympic team in 2012 and competed in the 400-meter race, reaching the semifinals, and the 1,600-meter relay.